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Last bills finally conclude long-overdue budget

- This bill gives the Governor the authority to determine further cuts. This is the Legislature's job and it leaves too much authority to the Executive and his budget office.

- The Governor did not release a clear plan in terms of how reductions would be made and there were too many unknowns in this bill.

- This bill has the potential to delay local assistance programs that could affect school aid payments.

Shortly after the legislature passed this measure this week, the U.S. Senate passed a measure that restores FMAP funding. Though counties will likely see Medicaid dollars from the federal government, it has not passed Congress nor has it been signed by the President at the time of this publication. Funding amounts are unclear at this point but according to Senate press releases, roughly three-quarters of $1.085 billion would be restored, leaving the Governor and his budget office to close the remainder.

If there is any good news, it is that the budget is passed. Unfortunately, we continue to make the same mistakes in Albany as we have for several years now. The majorities in both houses refuse to address the huge structural budget issues that we have--namely, state government spends and taxes too much.

This year was a tough budget year. Next year could be much worse in light of continuing lackluster recovery and the expiration of the so-called federal stimulus money. Hopefully, better leadership will be provided next year.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by email at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling (315) 598-5185.

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